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Fort Myers Beach sees increased business, visitors as reopening phases continue

More people are making their way to Southwest Florida, and businesses are enjoying more customers.

We spoke to local businesses Monday about their economic recovery, as the state continues to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

Several business owners on Fort Myers Beach told us things are getting back to normal slowly but surely. They said they are seeing people coming to Fort Myers Beach from all over Florida and some from other states too.

Now, they’re just waiting to see if the pace will pick up more as summer continues.

“We’ve seen a lot of travelers from all around the state coming to our beaches,” said Jason Unger, the owner of The Doghouse restaurant.

“In the past few weeks I feel that business has increased,” said Robyn Schuckert, the owner of Bayside Sports Bar and Grille. “I feel we’re getting some visitors.”

And hotels like the Sundeck Inn & Suites are starting to see more people coming to stay.

“On the weekends, we’re pretty packed,” said Daniel Clarkston, the co-owner of Sundeck Inn. “I see everyone on the beach. It’s very busy on the weekends.”

And busy is a good thing for business owner’s pockets, even in the midst of the U.S. economic recession officially announced Monday.

“The announcement today is not a surprise,” FGCU economist Dr. Tim Smyth said. “Everybody knew this was going to occur.”

Smythe says summer travel could put Southwest Florida on a good path toward recovery.

“Florida may see a higher tourism path then we normally see during the summer months because people have been bottled up and are ready to get out and do things,” Smythe said.

Business owners like Unger are just as hopeful.

“I think we’re going to see a better summer then we normally would be,” Unger said.

Lee County Port Authority says it continues to see an increase in travelers, with most airlines starting to increase the number of daily flights this month and in July.

“We need any and all business we can get,” Schuckert said.

Lee County statement

“We use data called the STR Report, which is a national entity that reports week by week on stats that are tourism indicators,” the county shared with WINK News in a statement. 

Tourism data for the week of May 24 through the 30 in Lee County:

  • Occupancy is at 34.8%, which is down 44.3% (from last year
    Average Daily Room Rate is $109.96, which is down 15.3%
Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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